When I visit my family back in California, my sister and I always try to go out for at least one walk together. Sometimes our lives can get so hectic we need time to catch up and share what we are each excited, worried, or just thinking about. We escape from our busy lives and return to the times when we lived together and could go for walks several times a week. We would treat our walks like appointments. “What time are we going to go for a walk?” I would ask her. After I moved away, we kept walking together, but talking through our phones. My gift to her before I left was a pair of headphones for this purpose.
When it comes to creating healthy lifestyles, we do not have to do it alone. Our relationships can give us confidence and motivation to create an active lifestyle. The best way to gain support for your new fitness goals is to let others know your goals and also to encourage others to be more active with you. Friends help keep you accountable to yourself. Trying a new gym class, like yoga or Pilates, can be intimidating, but it can be easier if you go with a friend. A hike or walk is a fun and easy hangout. Why not ask a coworker to go for a walk to a coffee shop a couple of blocks away, instead of the one in your building? Do you know someone who goes swimming regularly? Ask if you can join them. You can also invite friends over for a low-key workout/dance party. There are so many opportunities to get moving with others.
Having a walking or exercise buddy will not only help you reach your fitness goals, but it will also strengthen your relationships. Relationships are built on shared experience. When you work out or go for a hike with your spouse or friends, you are strengthening your physical health and emotional connections. Emotional connection allows us to build trust and grow in our relationships. Our social relationships can be a great help in building an active culture of wellness where we all can thrive. The key is to take the initiative and seek out social interactions that promote physical activity.
Your challenge for the week: Ask someone to join you on a walk or any other type of physical activity. Who have you not talked with in a while? Who would you like to get to know better? Who do you want to enlist as your next fitness ally?